Every year the Environment Team gains a new Sustainability Intern whose position lasts for a year. This internship provides the incredible opportunity to work for the University of St Andrews Estates Environment Team, helping to support, develop and implement the sustainability agenda across the campus. Over a series of blogs we have invited some of our interns to answer a few questions about their time as Sustainability Intern and what they have being doing since finishing the position. Meet Lindsay Mackay who was with the Environment Team from 2016 -2017, and whom we spoke with in late January.
What was your favourite part of your role as Sustainability Officer?
This is a really tough question. If I could I would say the whole job, but I don’t think that would be particularly interesting. My overall favourite part of the role was the fact that it allowed me to work with some fantastic people across the university. As a student in St Andrews I severely under estimated the amount of work that goes into making the university the fantastic place that it is. I know this might sound a little bit obvious, but the amount of work that I was fortunate enough to be exposed to, and the number of dedicated people who are passionate about the university and the students that study there, really overwhelmed me. It was a great privilege! I also loved the engagement and training that I did with students and staff. This part of the role allowed me to utilise my creative side whilst combining those skills with my passion for sustainability.
Was there a particular highlight of your year within the Environment Team?
The biggest highlight for me of the year within this position (apart from meeting so many fantastic people!) was finishing the Environmental Facilitator training module for staff members. This module is open to any staff member within the university who is interested in the environment and how they, and their department, can be more sustainable. This required a huge amount of work and time, but it provided great insight into many different areas of the university and the work that is going on behind the scenes to embed sustainability throughout the whole institution.
Do you think you were particularly sustainable before the role? How did your attitudes to the environment and your own behaviours change over the year?
Having studied Sustainable Development as part of my degree in St Andrews I knew the effects that humans are having on our precious world, but I wasn’t 100% practicing what I was being taught. Over the past two years, through my work experience and personal research, my eyes have been opened to the true impacts of mankind on our environment, and that has really challenged me. Before this position I did things including, cycling or walking to work, recycling and trying to reduce food waste as much as possible. Now I’m focusing on how I can be more of a responsible consumer through the things I buy and reducing how much I purchase. My role at the university also inspired me to pursue a career within the sustainability sector and I’m so thankful for the experience I had and all that was given to me. My one regret is that I didn’t get involved with groups including Transition during my undergraduate career and I would strongly encourage anyone to join the fantastic and inspiring community of people that Transition is!
Tell us what you have been up to since finishing your position as Sustainability Intern!
Since finishing my position in St Andrews I have moved to London! A rather big change going from a small harbour town to one of the largest capitals in the world! I am now working for a company called JLL as a Sustainability Analyst within the Upstream Sustainability Services team. We work closely with clients (mainly within the property sector) to become more sustainable in their businesses across a wide range of environmental, social and economic topics. We aim to help our clients achieve their sustainability vision for their business, and to help them pursue ambitious and sector leading targets. I am loving the position and have learnt so much over the past 4 months that I have been apart of the team, and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2018 holds!
Any green New Year resolutions?
Over the latter end of this year I have been doing a lot of reading around sustainability within the fashion industry and the social, economic and environmental issues that run throughout supply chains. One of my New Years resolutions will be to buy more sustainable clothing from ethical companies who strive for transparent supply chains so I know that my money is going where I want it to go, and not fuelling issues like slave labour. Another New Years resolution is to reduce the amount of packaging I purchase and use, and to use my keep cup for coffee whenever possible!